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Community Groups Urge You to Comment on the Plans for Former CUB Site

This is a copy of Chippendale News of 17th August 2008 from the Coalition Chippendale Community Groups. This issue deals with The Fraser's Modified Concept Plan for the Former CUB Broadway site (on Exhibitions)

The seemingly never-ending battle to prevent gross-overdevelopment of the Brewery site in Chippendale continues. 

With the revised Concept Plan for the former CUB site now on public exhibition, locals have another chance to influence the decision-making. 

We urge you to take the time and comment.  Submissions close on Monday, 1 September.  

Below you can find out more - about the hot issues and other concerns - where to find out more and see the plans - as well as some background information for those who would like to understand what has occurred to date.  

We are also looking for your feedback for the community group's  submission.  We also ask you to let your friends and neighbours know about the plans and urge them to make their voice heard

History and Background Information

Back in 2003, the then owner Fosters announced the sale of the brewery site to the developer Australand for $208M.   The sale however was conditional upon changes to the planning controls for the site being achieved.

We understand this followed discussions between the then Lord Mayor, Frank Sartor and Fosters; Frank Sartor afterwards headed off to the NSW Parliament, after his election to parliament.

Lucy Turnbull, the new Lord Mayor then announced a Design Competition to “inform” changes to the planning controls.  From a community perspective it appeared the City was intent on lifting the height controls which had been set between 15 - 45 metres (5 - 15 floors); with a maximum floor space ratio
(= building/bulk/density) of 3:1 for commercial and 5:1 for residential development.      

In short, Fosters needed to get the height restrictions lifted; to get the sale over the line.

Despite the height controls being lifted, the outcome of the Design Competition found the proposed density of 4.4:1 (which represented 70% residential space and 30% commercial) inappropriate.  Key concerns included the height and scale of buildings as well as overall density.  The dilemma was made worse, by the inclusion of privately held roads by Fosters, which effectively inflated bulk elsewhere. 

At the time, the Jury findings from the Design Competition showed the plans were universally condemned - in short it was a gross overdevelopment of the site.  With no scheme unreservedly endorsed, the Jury suggested the “leading” team be engaged to work with the City to find a solution for the site.

With Clover Moore now elected as Lord Mayor, the City undertook some major site investigations, with the key finding from its Consultants that the maximum density could be no greater than 3.5:1.  By now Australand had withdrawn their offer.  

Fosters intent on maximising a sale, now sought the Minister for Planning’s intervention.  This we believe resulted in the Central Sydney Planning Committee (dominated by Government appointees and responsible for approving all large scale developments in the City of Sydney LGA ) agreed to a density of 3.5 - 4:1; subject however to strict design standards being met.

This density was seen as still too high, however changes to the planning controls were about to go on public exhibition when Frank Sartor intervened, suggesting to the CSPC a greater FSR could be achieved.  The Committee declined to intervene; the Minister then took control of the site with the current Concept Plan (like a Masterplan) controversially approved.  

Widely condemned, the Concept Plan sets the planning controls for the site, ie the amount of floor space for each building, the height, roadways (which need to go back on the site), open space, parking etc.

It was now nearly full loop, with Fosters achieving nearly the same density that 3 years earlier had clearly been rejected by the expert Jury for the Design Competition.  With a “Concept Plan approved” the site was then sold to Frasers for $213M - not bad after the property market slide over the intervening period. 

In the mean time, a local took action through the Courts on the grounds of environmental impact.  Whilst the case was not won, it flagged debate about sustainability as climate change made daily front page news.  

Along with market expectations, we believe this led to Frasers proposing some key environmental initiatives.  Faced with a controversial scheme, the developer sought to revise the Concept Plan. 

Whilst locals emphasised the key issues - being bulk and scale, unfortunately once the “revised” plans were fully revealed, locals were dismayed to see the developer substantially increase rather than reduce the bulk and scale.

The amended Concept Plan is now on exhibition before the Minister approves or asks for changes.    Whilst the Plan shows some major improvements (design and sustainability sought by the local community), the changes substantially increase the FSR.  This has resulted in an enormous increase in massing and scale on parts of the site, particularly along the Abercrombie Street streetscape.  Whilst Frasers argue the increase is necessary to offset cost increases, we urge you not to be misled by this debate.

In short, the massing and scale will prompt outrage once built - despite some great design initiatives (which we note are NOT locked in).  We encourage you to make your voice heard.

Present Situation

The Planning Department is required by law to review the plans and place them on exhibition for public comment.  Comments are due by Monday 1 September.

Submissions can be sent to:


The plans can be viewed and downloaded at - http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/asp/06_0171_mod.asp

The plans can also be seen in person at the following locations: 

  • The Department of Planning (at the Information Centre) , 23 – 33 Bridge Street – Monday to Fridays 9am to 5pm
  • City of Sydney – Town Hall House, 456 Kent Street – Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm
  • UTS City Campus – in the foyer off Broadway, Monday to Friday, 6am to 10pm.

After the Exhibition period closes, the Minister is then obliged to take note of submissions.  We are hopeful that the Minister will take on board community feedback, and ask for the plans to be changed to address the major concerns.

Community Response

We are engaged in a “David & Goliath” battle - in short an under resourced community against a very well resourced developer with an internationally recognised consortium and a government that seems intent on approving a development on a scale that defies critics. 

We have made a list of hot issues below, which we believe valid criticisms of the proposed amended Concept Plan can be made. 

Four lead items are nominated.  We see these as having the greatest impact and also note these issues may be used as a precedent by future developers. 

With only a short time to closely analyse the plans and Frasers Consultant’s reports (can make the wrong assumptions), we are hopeful the community can assist us, with feedback and help on some of these topics.

If you have a particular interest in any of the following points and can contribute material for our submission, please email us ASAP. 

Your material may be a suggested paragraph or some key points to include - perhaps local knowledge, relevant data, shadow diagrams or even a sentence or two - all will help.

  • Substantial increase in FSR - from 235,000 to 257,000 gsm

Impact to the bulk and scale of buildings
Buildings along Broadway will be up to 120 metres (UTS is 114m, with buildings along Abercrombie - over 15 storeys high.  In particular, we note the impact in terms of local vistas and overshadowing and privacy that will occur on the immediate surrounding area. This has increased - particularly for residents/workers in Abercrombie, O’Connor, Goold and Wellington Street .  

  • Substantive increase in the height of some buildings

Huge increase in height along some key street frontages.  The end result - intimidating street walls, with little or no relevance to onsite and offsite heritage buildings. Overhangs along street frontages have no relevance to the character of the area.  Key design principles which followed considerable community consultation over the years are ignored.

The increased massing and scale dominates and overshadows the significant heritage areas.  Described by a leading architect: “the lumpen building forms - their sheer size and the specific way that the massing is being configured” is inappropriate.  The massing and scale of the buildings around the “brewery square” dominate the heritage chimney and heritage area.  Heritage Blackfriars is totally lost as it sits buried alongside a huge street wall.  

We believe the argument put forward by the architects that anything over 10 storeys is all the same at street level is clouding the debate.  In short the “modifications” have no interface with the local heritage area.  It sets an urban blight that will result from such substantive massing.  

Please note any architectural “features” on top of buildings are not included.  For your convenience, we attach a illustration which we believe says it all.   

  • Increased traffic congestion

From more than 2,000 car spots which is proposed to be managed under a shared arrangement – with access 24/7.

  • Open Space is NOT locked in

Whilst there has been a lot of publicity in terms of the increased open space (+33%); this is NOT locked in and includes access routes;  it is NOT permitted to dedicate the land to a public authority.

Rather the new “piazza” to the north of the Main Park is privately held. In addition, concerns are raised in relation to private arcades, laneways, frontages, streetscapes as well as the area along Wellington Street .   ONLY the “ Main Park ” is locked in.

Concerns are now held that the site will effectively become a privately held enclave with these areas later commercialised. These fears are supported by the designated land use zone.

Other issues, in no particular order:

  • The $2.5 million promised to our community is now in jeopardy

Changes are proposed to allow these funds to be used anywhere in the LGA; not specifically set aside for Chippendale.  The State Government has already set a special levy on the site, which is based on the FSR it approves with $35M set aside for the RWA.  Now the $2.5M which was promised for community facilities locally is under threat.

  • Overshadowing and the immediate impact on local areas

Unfortunately the modelling shows an increase in overshadowing from the current (and controversially) approved plans; with increased impact offsite, particularly on homes on Abercrombie Street and O’Connor Street.   

We also question the Consultants assumptions - in terms of the current shadow lines from existing buildings and shadows that will occur.  We need expert help on this!

  • A “Wall” on Wellington Street

Reference in some of the supporting documents is made to a “wall” on Wellington Street (we assume this may be considered in future when detailed plans are prepared). Given the open space along Wellington Street is not designated as public open space, fears are held that this space will be privately owned, without access from the public and separated from the local area by a wall.

  • “Daylight” vs “Sunlight” access for residential dwellings on the site

A new methodology was argued for the current Concept Plan, resulting in substandard controls and setting a dangerous precedent for NSW.   Given the proposed changes to the land use mix, we had anticipated this would be addressed. Instead less a 1% “improvement” is achieved; assuming the data is correct. 

The lack of vistas and sunlight on site as well as offsite has a direct relationship to mental health and well as social sustainability.   

Instead of substantive improvements, the revised plans lock in a substandard precedent, ie 2 hours of “day-lighting”, ie from 7:30am to 4pm vs. between the usual standard between 9am till 3pm - with balconies argued as living areas. 

Sadly, some residential buildings fail to even achieve the minimum “day-lighting”, with 50% of the building only achieving the minimum standard.   Expert help with this hot issue would be great!

  • Sun Access Planes

In short, key access plans are breached.

  • Abercrombie Street “Wall”  

Stretches down Abercrombie St almost to O’Connor with an overhang over the street.  In short, it has no relationship with or appreciation of the local area.   

  • Traffic Implications

Whilst a small reduction in the number of spots is proposed, the actual impact as a result of the “common ownership and management” will increase; given day and night parking will be encouraged; resulting in a turnover 24/7 a week.

  • Wind Impact

The change in bulk and scale increases wind velocities around the site.   It appears no investigations have been done at this point in time, with the concept of wind break treatments proposed to be investigated at a future time.  This is totally unsatisfactory.  

  • The Heritage Streetscape along Kensington Street

Is wrecked by the scale of a big building in the middle, ie on “Salsa Studio” site.  Also concerns are held about the sale of the laneway and proposed integration of retail space on both sides of the street.

  • Ownership and control of Kensington St precinct

Appears to be owned and controlled by the developer including the actual street(some good ideas but also some key concerns)

  • Noise Impact

Traffic data necessary to revise the studies appears not to be have been prepared; rather assumptions are made on data now nearly 3 years old.

  • Site zoning

Nearly the whole site plus some additional areas off site, are zoned as “Mixed Use”.   Only the actual “ Main Park ” is zoned a public open space.  Specifically areas shown as publically accessible, are not guaranteed for public use.  

It appears a large part of the site is likely to become an entertainment strip.

  • Substantive Increase in the Retail Component

Locals have consistently called for minimal retail use - particularly at ground level.  This has been ignored, with the new plans suggesting a large increase in retail space.  

  • Substantive Impact on Local Infrastructure including Public Transport

As a result of reduced residential accommodation and a substantive increase in the commercial population.

  • Adverse Impact on Social Sustainability

As a result of the sub-standard  residential buildings and reduced residential land use.

  • Social Impact Study

Is totally inadequate.

  • Population Counts

Substantive increase in local population. Given the number  of dwellings and floor plates (largest in Sydney ) that will be achieved in some of the commercial buildings, questions are raised about the population counts which are shown as:

Employee Nos                             6,057 (commercial, retail)
Hotel                                                12
Home based businesses:              155
Residential                                  2,100 (for 1,200 dwellings)     

These numbers suggest the local working/residential population will more than double.  However these numbers do NOT take into account - existing hotel facilities, retail visitors, the introduction of entertainment facilities or students.  We also question the numbers in terms of residents given 1,200 dwellings are proposed. 

  •  Ownership of access to internal roads / parks / open space

Given the massing and design of the buildings, questions are now being raised in this regard.

  •  Pedestrian Cycle Link

Is still shown along Wellington Street , over Mortuary station to Prince Alfred Park.  This is considered inappropriate, with residents long calling for a dedicated north-south green route, from Jones Street to the City and south through the Block to the ATP and beyond and an east-west route along Meagher and Myrtle.    

  •  Road systems and likely impact to O’Connor Street

Needs through investigation including the impact from Buckland Street .

  •  Lack of Consultation particularly with the Expert Advisory Panel

Who have failed to consult with the community, despite the substantive changes to the plans.

Source: Source:  The Coalition Chippendale Community Groups Chippendale News 17th August 2008 communityworkingparty@yahoo.com.au